Thought Piece | Innovation

What does the metaverse mean for the automotive industry?

Author: Chris Marsh, Liam Springate-Jones
Date: 30/11/22

What does the metaverse mean for the automotive industry?

It’s no secret that the metaverse is transforming the business landscape and influencing all industries, including the automotive sector. Along with the rise of Web3, the metaverse has the potential to reshape all areas of automotive, from product customisation and manufacturing to design and brand loyalty. In an ever-evolving market, more and more businesses are investing in virtual reality applications, and for good reason. Virtual reality is one of the technologies with the highest growth potential, making it a valuable property for growth-seeking brands.  

Matthew Ball, author of the national best-seller The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionise Everything and managing partner of Epyllion, describes the metaverse as a “massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time, rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users…” So, the metaverse then has the potential to pave the way for improved product creations where more people are involved in the development process, allowing for more innovation. The automotive industry is one of the key sectors that could reap the benefits of the metaverse. But how is it likely to change? Read on to find out. 

Continuous innovation 

The metaverse and virtual reality products have accelerated innovation in the automotive industry, which will continue in the coming years with the rapid advancement of AI and metaverse technology. Here are two examples of car brands that have entered the metaverse: 

  • Earlier this year, Nissan unveiled its new Sakura electric vehicle in the metaverse. Virtual reality visitors can test drive the car at the Nissan Sakura Driving Island.  

  • Toyota has created remote work environments in the metaverse for its employees, where people can discuss technical problems and offer solutions using digital avatars.  

These contrasting approaches show just how powerful the metaverse can be for automotive brands. The metaverse can serve as both an immersive marketing platform for brands and to interact with people virtually. Further afield, it’s been reported that Audi will become the first automotive brand to feature virtual reality in-car entertainment. The car stalwart will allow backseat passengers to use VR glasses to access games and films, and other interactive content. 

New car buying experiences 

Not only does the metaverse offer the automotive industry continuous innovation, but the car buying experience is also likely to change radically. Buying a car has evolved away from brick-and-mortar dealerships to digital experiences, and the metaverse could represent the next stage for car buying.  

Since car brands are already investing in virtual reality, there is huge potential for offering consumers the chance to experience automotive products virtually, encouraging real-life buying. In 2021, Hyundai Motor Company launched ‘Hyundai Mobility Adventure’, a metaverse space on Roblox that allows users to customise their avatars and familiarise themselves with Hyundai’s new vehicles and motor solutions. In doing so, Hyundai can maintain relationships with its customers and create an immersive experience for those who are interested in buying a Hyundai vehicle. 

The metaverse has a lot to offer brands beyond creating virtual showrooms - despite being valuable as evidenced by Acura’s virtual auto showroom, the real opportunity lies in building communities in the metaverse. Why? Because it’s a powerful way to increase brand awareness in a way that’s creative, engaging and based around connections and socialising. In short, the metaverse has the potential to transform the way car brands promote and sell vehicles, as well as how they interact with customers.  

Efficient supply chain management

Due to its 3D representations and data utilisation, the metaverse has the power to improve the efficiency of supply chains and deliver a more seamless experience in the automotive industry. The metaverse could elevate the supply chain process. While digital transformation in supply chains isn’t entirely new, the metaverse could reinvent the automotive supply chain completely, by creating a digital space that’s then translated onto the physical world.  

With the metaverse, car brands can simulate different scenarios and assist with supply chain management by identifying any potential risk areas in real-time. Implementing the right technologies to enable real-time supply management will take time, but the metaverse is only going to grow bigger and more powerful and will serve brands more effectively in the future.

What’s the next step? 

Here at Splendid, we have a deep knowledge of the metaverse and experience design. We've worked on many creative projects in the automotive sector, with the likes of BMW MINI. We redeveloped and redesigned MINI’s retailer websites to strengthen the identity of their brand. Now, we’re building metaverse worlds to elevate brands even further, digitally. If you want to learn more about how the metaverse can elevate your brand, register your interest for one of our metaverse workshops.